S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Monteiro, Major Joachim John (natural history)

Born: 1833, London, United Kingdom.
Died: 6 January 1878, Maputo, Mozambique.
Active in: Moz.

Joachim John Monteiro (also known as Jose Maria Correa Monteiro) was a Portuguese colonial official and naturalist. He was born in London, trained as a mining engineer at the Royal School of Mines in that city, and also studied at the College of Chemistry. His wife, Rose Monteiro*, shared his interests in natural history. In 1858 he went to Angola, where he spent most of his time during the next 18 years. At first he worked the copper deposits at Bembe, in north-eastern Angola. While there he found that the fibres of Adansonia digitata (the Baobab) were suitable for making paper and after returning to the coast at Ambriz in 1865 spent years in exploiting this discovery. While exploring various regionsof Angola he collected plants, birds, some mammals and other natural history specimens and distinguished himself through his remarkable observations on animal life, published in his book Angola and the River Congo (London, 1875, 2 vols). Monteiro's Hornbill, Tockus monteiri, was named after him in 1865, as were several other species of birds and plants.

In 1876 he and his wife settled in Lourenco Marques (now Maputo, Mozambique), where he served as labour agent and emigration agent to the government of the Cape Colony from July that year until his untimely death two years later. He continued his animal observations and, with Rose, collected plants in the neighbourhood of the town, sending herbarium specimens to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, near London. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, and on 31 October 1877 was elected a corresponding member of the newly founded South African Philosophical Society. The society deplored his death and lauded his work at its annual general meeting on 26 July 1878.

List of sources:
Clinning, C. Southern African bird names explained. Johannesburg: South African Ornithological Society, 1989.

Harries, P. Field sciences in scientific fields: entomology, botany and the early ethnographic monograph in the work of H.A. Junod. In S. Dubow (ed.), Science and society in southern Africa (pp. 11-41). Manchester University Press, 2000.

Joachim John Monteiro. Nature, 1878, Vol. 17, pp. 425-426. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/017425d0.pdf on 2018-11-13.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Monteiro, J.J.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Rosenthal, E. Southern African dictionary of national biography. London: F. Warne, 1966.

South African Philosophical Society. Transactions, 1877-1879, Vol. 1, Proceedings..., pp. iv, ix.

Compiled by: C. Plug

Last updated: 2020-04-23 17:30:14